Good Morning Sunshine
I have to admit to you, Tuesday was probably my hardest day at the retreat. As is common when trying to sleep somewhere new, I didn’t get a lot of shut-eye the night before and I was exhausted. Thankfully, we started the day with yoga, so at least I was able to ease into the morning.
Our group headed to the pool house bright and early and joined the other Haven Retreat participants for some trauma-sensitive yoga. I have done yoga in a couple of studios and in my home office, but I have to tell you this was the most beautiful place so far that I have ever done yoga. For an hour we stretched, breathed and connected ourselves with our bodies. It was wonderful.
According to this Younique Foundation Post:
Yoga is a technique that can help you make peace with your body and reconnect with it in a positive way. Practicing yoga regularly will help you become more grounded. Doing this type of workout will access the limbic system (the emotional part of your brain) and engage it in the healing process. This attention can help you unfreeze emotions that may have kept you stuck for years.
After yoga, we enjoyed an amazing breakfast! Just so you know, breakfast is my favorite meal of the day and I was spoiled with the most delightful breakfasts each morning of the retreat. Scrambled eggs, ham, bacon, steel cut oats, fresh fruit, incredible smoothies and sourdough blueberry waffles with homemade buttermilk syrup are just some of the delicious things I enjoyed for breakfast while at Haven.
A Photograph is Worth a Thousand Words
After breakfast, we were introduced to The Younique Foundation’s Image Coordinator, Annie Vandermyde Smith. She shared with us about the optional makeover and photo shoot available to each participant and why it is a part of the Haven Retreat. She also shared a short video with us that told her story.
Annie’s story brought tears to my eyes, as I related to being that woman who had forgotten who she was….who wasn’t the same happy-go-lucky girl she used to be. It was such a moving video that I went searching for it online and I FOUND IT! Enjoy…. Oh, and I’m not crying, you’re crying.
I had signed up for the makeover and photo shoot and had that slated for later in the morning. I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. I don’t typically wear a lot of makeup and I usually don’t like most photos that are taken of me. But, I wasn’t going to pass up an opportunity to get dolled up.
I joined 3 other women from my group and we headed down to the salon. Yes, there is even a salon in the main house. We were greeted by 4 super friendly makeup artists who each claimed one of us and got started on our faces. The makeup artists were quick to ask how we were feeling about the makeover. They also inquired as to whether we wanted a more natural look or if we wanted to go for a more bold look. They explained everything that they were going to do before they did it, which helped to keep us all at ease. And, if we were game, they even had fake eyelashes to adorn us with. I told my gal that I typically like a more natural look but that I trusted her and I gave her my permission to do what she wanted. And, that yes, I would definitely try the fake lashes.
For those of you wondering if Younique makeup is used during the makeover, since the retreat is the mission of the Younique Foundation, the answer is no. While Younique was created to help fund the foundation, they keep the foundation separate and don’t make Younique makeup a part of the retreat experience in any way. I am kicking myself though for not at least snapping pictures of the brand of makeup that was used, because I loved the lip color.
While our makeup was applied, Annie came over and styled our hair. I have A LOT of hair, and that girl did wonders in mere minutes with a flat iron. My curls were spectacular. I am now on a mission to learn her secrets because I would love to do my hair like that every day.
Annie posed each one of us individually for photos. The shoot went very quickly and was super comfortable. I can’t wait to get my photos back. As soon as they come in, I will be sure to update this post with a collage of photos from the shoot.
There’s something restorative about being pampered and then seeing yourself in an image in a new way. It’s inspiring to see that someone was able to capture your beauty, your light, the sparkle in your eyes that you haven’t seen in a long time, or even just the twitch of a genuine smile to remind you of your greatness.
– Melissa Shepard, Office Manager at the Younique Foundation
Sleep and Grounding
During the course of the retreat, we were given the option of various classes. I took part in 2 of my class choices in the cabin on Tuesday: Restorative Sleep and Grounding Techniques. I figured since I barely slept a wink the night before, Restorative Sleep was probably a good choice. No, but really, I don’t sleep well even when I am not in new places. At home, every little noise wakes me up. Many times I will even stand up on the bed to peer out the window right above my head to make sure all is safe. I probably wake my husband up several times in the night with this ritual of mine. So, a class on restorative sleep would not only benefit me but my hubby as well.
I learned a lot of valuable information and have already started to put into practice some of the tips that were provided. I am not going to make this post even longer by sharing the wealth of information that I learned in that hour, but if you head over to this Younique Foundation blog post, you will find a lot of the same information. I hope that it helps you too.
Grounding Techniques was another very useful class. These techniques help to not only relieve stress and anxiety, but they also keep us focused on the present. For a trauma survivor, keeping focused on the present is key to overcoming triggers. During our class, we focused on breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and mindfulness. It was very helpful to learn more about these techniques, especially since becoming more aware and mindful is my goal for the next month or two.
At the Haven Retreat, Group Therapy is an option on two of the four days. I attended both group therapy sessions and was thankful for the opportunity to share my story in a safe place with people that I trusted. There isn’t much more I am going to share about this part of the day, but I did want to mention that it is offered during the retreat. This was my first experience in a group therapy session and I am glad I chose to go.
Sing a Song
After dinner, we were treated to some entertainment. A local singer/songwriter, Katie Lee, came to the house to serenade us. I loved that Katie chose empowering songs like ‘Fight Song’ and ‘Brave’. I also loved the intimate setting, as she encouraged us to make requests and sing along. It didn’t stop there, she even invited any singers in the group to come up and sing with her. One brave soul went first and the two of them harmonized together on a beautiful version of Jewel’s ‘You Were Meant for Me’. I decided that I wanted to sing as well. Katie and I chose ‘Titanium’ and I had so much fun singing with her. She even let me pick the key. I didn’t realize until that moment just how much I had needed to sing that day. Singing is therapeutic for me and it was the perfect addition to my four healing days at the retreat.
Not only did we have entertainment that evening, but 3 massage therapists came and provided chair massages for all of the retreat participants. Yes, we were pampered…..so much pampering. It was lovely!
I ended my evening with a long call home (I was missing my hubby) and a long night’s rest (must’ve been that restorative sleep class). Little did I know that my favorite day of the retreat was quickly approaching. Wednesday was my most favorite day of all.
Stay tuned for day 4.
Check out Day 3.
Did you miss day 1? You can find it here.